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Zales Ecton

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Zales Nelson Ecton April 1, 1898 – March 3, 1961 was an American Republican politician from Montana who represented the state in the United States Senate, serving from 1947 to 1953

Ecton was born in Weldon, Decatur County, Iowa He moved with his family to Gallatin County, Montana, when he was nine years old He attended the Gallatin County public schools, the then Montana State College later Montana State University at Bozeman and the University of Chicago law school In 1921, he became a rancher and gained interests in grain and livestock

Entering politics, he was a member of the Montana state House from 1933 to 1937 and the Montana state senate from 1937 to 1946 In 1946, he ran for the Montana United States Senate seat which was being vacated by Democrat Burton K Wheeler, who had lost the Democratic primary

As part of the Republican takeover of the Senate in 1946, Ecton defeated Democratic state Supreme Court Justice Leif Erickson by a vote of 54% to 46% He served in the Senate for one term, having been narrowly defeated for reelection in 1952 by US Representative Mike Mansfield, a Democratic college professor and Far Eastern expert Ecton resumed his ranching business until his death in Bozeman

Ecton was the last Republican US senator from Montana until the election in 1988 of Conrad Burns, who served from 1989 to 2007


  • United States Congress "Zales Ecton id: E000037" Biographical Directory of the United States Congress 

Further readingedit

  • Zales N Ecton Papers 1898-1961, Merrill G Burlingame Special Collections Library, Montana State University Collection website
US Senate
Preceded by
Burton K Wheeler
US Senator Class 1 from Montana
Served alongside: James Edward Murray
Succeeded by
Mike Mansfield

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